Francois 1er and Dutch Art

The Louvre revisits the French Renaissance with a temporary exhibition “Francois 1er et l’Art des Pays-Bas “ devoted to Dutch artists patronized by Francois Ier (1494-1547) who ruled France from 1515 until his death. Francois, an enthusiastic patron of the arts, initiated the French Renaissance by attracting to France many Italian artists including Leonardo da Vinci, who brought the Mona Lisa with him. Continue reading “Francois 1er and Dutch Art”

Johanna Calle’s “Drawings”

“Baidos”

The Maison de l’Amérique Latine hosts a remarkable exhibition of work by Columbian artist Johanna Calle (to December 20, 2017). Although titled “Drawings” it is much more than that. Her drawings explore the idea of line in all its forms while using text, lattice screens, metal and cloth.  Wire is an integral material for many of her projects. Calle often uses it alongside drawing. She says “It is a more dimensional form of line and can communicate certain things that simply drawing cannot… My artworks are the result of research processes that discuss the investigation of materials.” Underlying the visual dimension of her work are such dialectics as abstract vs figurative and what is legible and illegible… the details we see up close and how things look further away. Continue reading “Johanna Calle’s “Drawings””

Ali Kazma’s “Souterrain”

Ali Kazma, “Subterranean” diptyque video

The Jeu de Paume in Paris is showing Turkish lens-based artist Ali Kazma’s recent non-narrative documentary videos (until January 21). Kazma, who studied in the States at the New School, represented Turkey in the 55th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia. His video installations —usually five to fifteen minutes—are a melange of various situations and social types… a kind of update on August Sanders. In a recent interview with ARTE he described the documentary nature of his work as an effort to create a “poetic archive of the human condition.” Kazma’s videos are an excellent compliment to the other Jeu de Paume exhibition currently on devoted to legendary “New Objectivity” photographer Albert Renger-Patzsch. Continue reading “Ali Kazma’s “Souterrain””

New Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris

The YSL brand has been long considered synonymous with French classic design. Now a new museum dedicated to the couturier’s work just opened at the premises of his former haute couture house located at 5, avenue Marceau in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. Housed in the Second Empire mansion where the designer’s team worked for three decades, the museum covers all the major themes in Saint Laurent’s work, including: the most emblematic designs embodying the designer’s quintessential style, such as the tuxedo, the safari jacket, the jumpsuit and the trench coat; his various tributes to art such as the famous Mondrian dress and the collections inspired by his imagined journeys to such faraway places as China and India. Continue reading “New Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris”

Albert Renger-Patzsch’s “Things”

Stapelia variegata, Asclepiadaceae 1923 Albert Renger-Patzsch

A major exhibition of around 190 photographs revisits the work of the German photographer Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897-1966), whose photographs are associated with the “New Objectivity” genre ( to January 21, 2018).  His typologies and industrial landscapes have influenced the documentary style of several generations of photographers including Bernd and Hilla Becher as well as Andreas Gursky. Continue reading “Albert Renger-Patzsch’s “Things””

The Mistress of Paris

Take a walk on the wild side of Belle Epoque Paris with this biography of Emile-Louise Delabigne, known as countess Valtesse de la Bigne (1848-1910). who was a legendary French courtesan and demi-modaine. Her lovers included countless painters, writers and politicians, while her affairs with women caused a scandal in turn-of-the-century Paris. She was painted by Édouard Manet and inspired Émile Zola, who immortalized her in his scandalous novel “Nana.” Continue reading “The Mistress of Paris”

John Baxter’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres

The Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood is world famous for its connection with artists, writers and intellectuals… and now shopping. For many years this part of Paris has been a stronghold of the “sans culottes,” a refuge to artists and a place for bohemians. Napoleon, Hemingway, and Sartre have all called it home. Descartes is buried there. The writer Oscar Wilde spent his last days in the quarter, at the small, run-down hotel called the Hotel d’Alsace at 13 rue des Beaux‑Arts. The legendary Ecole des Beaux-Arts—attended by such artists as Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas and Georges Seurat—is here. And the Place Saint-Germain-des-Pres is where students battled the police in May 1968. Continue reading “John Baxter’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres”

Paris Impressions

A new bilingual book “Paris Impressionniste” illustrated with 100 paintings brings together some of the images of this mythical city many of us carry in our head, such as Camille Pisarro’s “Le Pont Royal” or Caillebotte’s “Rue de Paris, temps de pluie,” or Edouard Manet’s legendary “un bar aux Folies Bergere” When Humphrey Bogart told Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca we’ll always have Paris. he wasn’t talking about the Paris of surly bureaucrats, strikes and traffic jams, but the Paris of Manet’s lovers in “Chez le pere Lathuille”… the romantic Paris.

Monet painted smoke clouding the Gare Saint-Lazare, Renoir captured the Pont Neuf’s reflections in the Seine, Pissarro portrayed Avenue de l’Opéra from his hotel room, Manet immortalized waitresses in a café at Pigalle… Between its river and its tall skies, the French capital lacked neither nature nor textures for artists intent on capturing the magic of light in an urban setting. Plus the city with its street life, workers, cafes and entertainment was an extremely happening fin de siecle place to paint. Continue reading “Paris Impressions”

Magnum’s Analog Recovery at Le Bal

Leonard Freed. Harlem fashion show, New York, 1963 © Leonard Freed/Magnum Photos

The legendary Magnum photo agency, founded in 1947 by Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour, Henri Cartier-Bresson and George Rodger, is an international photo cooperative owned by its members. This year marks the 70th anniversary for the famed photography agency and the completion of its Paris archive. To celebrate Le Bal presents “Magnum Analog Recovery” an exhibition of work from Magnum’s Paris archives that spans from the agency’s creation in 1947 to 1977. This collection—stored in Paris as paper prints— brings together “press”  photos distributed to newspapers and magazines. Continue reading “Magnum’s Analog Recovery at Le Bal”